The Swindon Robins turned around a six point deficit from their 48-42 away defeat at Belle Vue Aces on Monday night to claim their first silverware of the new 2018-19 season by defeating the Manchester-based side 52 (94) 38 (86) at The Abbey Stadium on Thursday night writes Nick Taylor.
The Premiership champions beat last season’s Knockout Cup winners to win the Charity Shield in a meeting which started competitively but eventually saw the Robins run out relatively comfortable winners, with birthday boy Mitchell Davey (28) deservedly grabbing the ‘Man of the Match Trophy’ afterwards for his excellent efforts on the night.
Heat one began with Adam Ellis crashing out spectacularly on the first bend with both man & bike disappearing under the safety air fence. After what seemed an eternity, the young Brit emerged and was able to walk back unassisted to the pits.
With all four riders back, Heat One was won by the Aces’s British Champion Craig Cook, blasting away from the start line, tracked by Nick Morris with Ellis retiring on the second lap with bike trouble.
Aces reserve Dan Bewley was penalised for dismounting his bike at the start line before the beginning of heat two, resulting in him going from 15 metres back. Robins reserve Zach Wajtknecht made a flying start from the gate but the heat then was stopped after Aces Jye Etheridge placed his bike down on bend two.
The rerun again found Wajtknecht in electric form, winning by a distance followed home by fellow reserve Mitchell Davey to score the Robins first 5-1 of the new season.
Troy Batchelor led from the start to take heat three for Swindon in commanding form and continue his fine early form shown on Monday night, though team mate David Bellego struggled home a long way back in fourth.
After an unsatisfactory start to heat four in which Tobiasz Musielak received a warning, the Polish rider, who transformed Robins fortunes on his arrival mid-season last year, repeated his rocket-propelled start from the outside gate to claim victory, superbly supported by Davey in second who did brilliantly to fend off Max Fricke for second.
Craig Cook and David Bellego battled side by side for the lead in heat five before the Aces rider surged forward to claim the chequered flag and remain unbeaten after two rides, with Batchelor surprisingly back in fourth having made a dreadful gate.
Fricke showed Ellis and Morris a clean pair of boots winning Heat Six comfortably, with the Robins number one Morris uncharacteristically struggling to find form.
Former Robin Rohan Tungate, who suffered a mechanical nightmare on Monday night, outmuscled Wajtknecht to lead heat seven before Damian Drozdz crashed out on bend two of lap two. The rerun again found Tungate out in front from the gate to the finish line, with Musielak in second and Wajtknecht third.
Ellis displayed no after effects from his earlier crash by powering to an impressive victory in heat eight, with reserve Davey claiming another scalp by holding off GB international Stevie Worrall to bag second place, allowing the Robins to lead the two legged meeting for the first time by 71- 67.
Heat nine gave Swindon another big 5-1 with Batchelor making a statement as he flew out of the gate, assisted by his wingman Bellego from Etheridge and Fricke some distance back.
Another 5-1 maximum followed in heat 10 for the hosts, Morris finally discovering the speed that made him the Robins Rider of The Season last year with Ellis not far back in second.
Musielak inflicted Cook’s first defeat of the night when he outfought his opponent to claim the win in heat 11, Worrall holding off Wajtknecht for the one point in third.
Bewley, in for the injured Drozdz, claimed heat 12, outpowering Batchelor, with Etheridge edging out Davey for third, the aggregate score now standing at 85-77 in Swindon’s favour.
Morris exceeded the two minute warning at the start of heat 13, with Robins boss Alun Rossiter sending out in-form reserve Davey as his replacement. Musielak then jumped the start, his second of the night to be placed 15 metres back for the rerun leading to the Aces grabbing their first 5-1 of the night courtesy of Fricke & Cook to reduce the Robins overall lead to four points.
Frenchman Bellego flew out of the blocks in the crucial heat 14 to resist the attack of Tungate and with Wajtknecht holding bravely onto third place, the scores were now 90-8, meaning the Robins could not be beaten and therefore could claim their first piece of silverware of the 2018-19 season.
Bellego took the chequered flag in the final heat 15 to wrap proceedings up, the Robins running out comfortable (52)94-(38)86 aggregate winners in the end.
The Robins are next in action on Thursday, March 29th when they host Leicester Lions in their first Premiership fixture of the new season.
Robins: Nick Morris 7+1; Adam Ellis 7+1; Troy Batchelor 8; David Bellego 10+1; Tobiasz Musielak 8; Zach Wajtknecht 5+1; Mitchell Davey 7+3.
Aces: Craig Cook 9+2; Steve Worrall 5; Damian Drozdz 1+1; Rohan Tungate 8; Max Fricke 9; Jye Etheridge 2; Dan Bewley 4